LA HABRA : Planner Wants Policy Altered to Keep Post

Planning Commissioner Paul G. Thornburg, a nine-year commission veteran, wants the City Council to reappoint him after his term expires today, but he isn’t eligible unless city policy is changed.

Under the existing policy, planning commissioners cannot serve more than two consecutive four-year terms, or a total of 10 years.

Council members plan to appoint one of seven candidates to Thornburg’s post at Thursday’s meeting, and no council members have said they would vote to change the term-limit policy to reappoint Thornburg.

“I certainly wasn’t going to bring it up,” Mayor William D. Mahoney said. He said the policy has not been changed since it was implemented with a unanimous vote in 1985.


But, he added, “it’s just a policy and nothing more than that. The reason for it was to allow for a change and mixture, and more people being able to serve on the commissions. I don’t think it’s a bad policy but I’m not saying I won’t listen to somebody else’s viewpoints.”

Thornburg told the council earlier this month that his experience on the commission makes him a good candidate for reappointment.

“I think that experience has a lot to be said for this particular position,” Thornburg said. “Term limits should not be necessary in any office.”

Also vying for the job are: real estate agent Kathleen Baird Benoit; building designer William A. Amor; businessman Jim Flores; architect Mark Allen Handler; restaurant manager William E. Reeves; Monte Cicino, a hospital administrator; and Traffic Commissioner Donald Brigante, who also applied for reappointment to the Traffic Commission.


All but Benoit have been interviewed. She will be interviewed at the City Council meeting Thursday night.

Council members will appoint a community services commissioner and a traffic commissioner as well at the meeting.

Howard Derow’s term on the Community Services Commission expires Wednesday. Derow, who was appointed to fill an unexpired term last year, is eligible for reappointment.

The three-year term on that commission is being sought by Derow; insurance broker Bonnie Lee Hart; John Harden, an insurance consultant; and Tim Plains, an auto parts distributor.

The Traffic Commission seat is a four-year term that Brigante has held for two years. Harden and Brigante both want to be traffic commissioner if they are not appointed to the other commissions, they said. James Deyo, a design draftsman, and Joe Lastition, owner of an insurance appraisal company, are also seeking appointment to the traffic panel.